Hypoxic Training Improves Normoxic Glucose Tolerance in Adolescents with Obesity

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To test whether environmental hypoxia could potentiate the effects of exercise training on glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.


Fourteen adolescents with obesity were assigned to 6 weeks of exercise training either in normoxic or in hypoxic conditions (FiO2 15%). Adolescents trained 3x/w for 50-60min, including endurance and resistance exercises. Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), blood and morphological analyses as well as physical performance tests were performed before and after the training period.


After training, hypoxia, but not normoxia, decreased the area under the curve of plasma insulin (-49%; p=0.001) and glucose levels (-14%; p=0.005) during OGTT. Decreased plasma triglycerides levels (p=0.03) and increased maximal aerobic power (p=0.002), work capacity at 160 beats/min (p=0.002) and carbohydrate consumption during exercise (p=0.03) were measured only in the hypoxic group.


Hypoxic exercise training was particularly efficient at improving glucose tolerance and insulin response to a glucose challenge in adolescents with obesity. These results suggest that exercise training in hypoxia could be an interesting strategy against insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes development in adolescents with obesity.

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